Saturday, April 19, 2014

Boondocking Blues

Stewart's Point at Lake Meade, NV

I actually, except for the wind, enjoyed boondocking at Lake Meade.  Here are some photos of that location.

Stuff Happens....what you gonna do?

It seems like lately I am subject to failure and frustration for some reason.  First issue was I put some scratches from a tree branch on my new BBT when I backed into a space at Lake Mead Recreation Area.

After that I moved to a BLM area (free camping for 15 days at a time) called Stewarts Point and parked in a neat looking area that appeared to be hard and rocky and level enough.  The third day there, the wind blew like you would not believe and my parking area turned into a major dust bowl.  The BBT and the BFT, inside and out, and my chairs and patio mat were coated with this white chalky dust.  I stayed ahead of it the best I could but just when I thought the wind was over, it came back again!  I am talking about wind so strong I had to pull in my slide.  Finally, after four days, I gave up and pulled out.

After leaving windy Stewart's Point, my plan was to go to The Valley of Fire State Park and I did.  The problem was I couldn’t bring myself, after paying nothing to park on the BLM land ten miles down the road, to pay $30 a night for a camping space in the park.   Had I stayed on the BLM for nothing and drove in the park for day use, the fee was $10. 

I did drive through the park and got some pictures but I am sure there was a lot more to see.  I will plan another trip there if I am ever in that area again.  Here are some pictures from the road that do not do it justice.  I read that early in the morning or just at sunset the sun hits these rocks and turns them a bright red and orange...just like they are on fire.

So….first  scratches and second dust and third overpriced campground.  I decided to just drive on up to Hurricane where my brother lives and get a nice clean spot in a nice rv park, Willowind, for a month and take my time cleaning everything up.  All went as planned and I do have a nice space and they allow washing of vehicles and rigs so I can get rid of the dust.  I went over to my brother’s house for a nice dinner and visit.  After dinner, when it was dark, I drove back to the park and backed my BFT into the space in front of the BBT, which I had unhooked earlier.

Well….it was dark and dummy me, also having had a few drinks after dinner, backed too far back and hit the tailgate against the 5th wheel hitch dinging it pretty bad.  There were some contributing factors to this stupid move on my part, which probably sounds like an excuse.  The curb is quiet deep and as I was backing up I had to give a little gas to get my front wheels up on the pad after the dip so I wasn’t sticking out into the street and I just lost focus on the rear and how close I was to the hitch.  Of course I feel bad and stupid and frustrated but there is nothing I can do about it except get a new tailgate. 

I didn’t want to spend the money but I had thought about buying a 5th wheel tailgate while I was here and now I have to.  They are special tailgates that have an open area in the middle so I don’t have to lower the gate to hook up and unhook, which makes it a bunch easier for me.  The new type tailgate will also allow me to hook and unhook at angles when I am in short spaces.  There are lots of reasons for buying the new tailgate but I just feel bad that I dented the one I have now since it is no real good to anyone.  I probably could have sold it to someone who made the same mistake I did but now it is scrap metal.

I looked on line for tailgates and found the one I want and they will ship it to me in about a week.  I didn’t want a cheap plastic one so the one I bought is a nice steel one that is powder coated and will look great on my truck without having to paint it.  It is fairly priced at $280 and that includes shipping.  I can make back that money by boon docking a few weeks instead of staying in RV parks when I am traveling.  

I figure I save an average of $25 every day I boon dock.  It is costing me $350 plus electricity for a month to stay here, which is about $11.50 a day plus whatever the electricity costs.   When traveling I have to pay a daily rate, which on average is about $25 a night.  Of course there isn’t always a free place to park, depending on where I am.  Most WalMarts allow us to park overnight but I still don’t feel safe in a WalMart parking lot.

I forgot to take a picture of the dented is my new tailgate.

My last frustration is my batteries are not holding a charge like they should.  The BBT has two 6v deep cell batteries and one 12v battery and all three are giving me issues.  I am researching the problem and trying to get them to hold a charge so I don’t have to buy new batteries, and I shouldn’t have to since they are all less than a year old.  I hope I can solve this issue because I am looking at another $300 cost.

Today I wiped and scrubbed inside and just rinsed off the outside of the BBT and BFT and all the chairs etc.  Much better now and when we get a warmer day I will give both vehicles a proper wash job and maybe even wax job.  I need to wax both before summer for sure.  I think I will just hang around and do piddle work and tasks for the next few days.  After my week of misfortunes I am almost afraid to go anywhere!


I have been spending more money than I wanted to but all are are necessities for the lifestyle I live.  The RV dealer where I purchased my rig finally sent me a new folding dinette chair after three months.  I received the new tailgate and it fit perfectly so I don’t feel as bad about that dent in the old one.  I ordered Benchmark Atlas’s for California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Washington and Oregon so I can continue to do more boon docking and save some money plus see some great places while traveling. 

I solved my battery drain problem by buying a second smaller generator to keep the batteries charged while boon docking. I bought a marine quality two way switch so I can use one bank of batteries while charging the other.  I built some stands for the electric rear stabilizers and ordered some new locking pins for the front landing gears. 

This is my new smaller will be useful for charging the batteries and watching the tv or using the pc while boondocking.

Looking pretty shiney!

I have washed both vehicles and now I am in the process of waxing them before I leave here.  I  also figured out how to receiver sound from my tv through the four surround speakers in the living area plus I also discovered my stereo system has Bluetooth that allows me to hear my phone through the speakers…pretty cool for an old guy that can't hear very well anymore.

I have been keeping pretty busy doing things that need to be done but I have also been relaxing and doing some reading.  My RV neighbor is really into riding bicycles and asked me to go riding with him but I am not in the kind of shape to do that with someone who does it all the time and is much younger than I am.  Anyway, I need to take my front wheel into the local bike shop and have it “trued” before doing any riding. It wobbles pretty bad.

The bike shop said they cannot "true" my bike tire as it is too badly bent.  My luck.  I am going to pick it up this morning and try again before buying another rim. Ugh!  I need to win the lottery!

Happy Trails.

American Brain Tumor Association

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month.  Please remember my beautiful Pati in your prayers and thoughts.

Patricia Jean Murray
Oct. 1, 1946 - June 16, 2012